Embracing Barcelona: My Unforgettable Experience with CIEE's Economics and Culture Program

Programs for this blog post

Economics + Culture

By: Brenda Padilla

A Glimpse into My World

Hi, I'm Brenda, and I'm set to graduate in May 2025 . Currently, I am a junior at Duke University majoring in Economics and Markets and Management. My college journey has been an incredible ride, but studying abroad with the CIEE Economics and Culture Program in Barcelona, Spain, has undoubtedly been the highlight of my academic experience.  So, let me take you through my transformative adventure in the vibrant city of Barcelona.

Smooth Sailing with CIEE

From pre-departure assistance to the moment we left, CIEE was by my side, providing guidance and support that went above and beyond my expectations. CIEE ensured a seamless transition into my Barcelona adventure. They not only helped me navigate the paperwork and secure a visa for Spain but also came to my rescue when the airline misplaced both my checked bags. A special shoutout to Ray, whose incredible assistance and reassuring presence made me feel at home despite the initial hiccups. (Yes, I had to buy new clothes, but the travel insurance that comes along with CIEE reimbursed me!)

A Week of Immersive Orientation

Upon arrival, CIEE took care of everything – from airport transfers to accommodations. The week before classes began was dedicated to orientation and activities designed to acclimate us to the rich Spanish culture. This week turned out to be more than just an introduction; it was a gateway to lifelong friendships and a deeper understanding of the city's nuances. The perfect introduction to the next 4 months of my semester abroad!

Academics That Inspire

CIEE's Economics and Culture Program in Barcelona stood out for several reasons. As a Spanish speaker, the language was a significant draw. ( Though my Spanish from living in Mexico differs, it was great to hear Spanish spoken in a different accent with many new words to learn!) The program also not only offered compelling economic courses that were approved for credit at Duke but also integrated marketing classes that aligned perfectly with my Markets and Management certificate. One aspect that truly set CIEE apart was the incorporation of field trips into the curriculum of all my classes. These excursions took us to various iconic locations, allowing us to apply our classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios in the heart of Spain.

Traveling Beyond Borders

One of the most incredible features of CIEE's program was its schedule flexibility, allowing students to travel beyond Barcelona. My family visited for two weeks, and while I attended classes during the week, we explored Paris, Rome, Positano, and London on the weekends. The strategic location of CIEE opened doors to a world of possibilities, enabling me to learn, explore, and make the most of my time abroad.

In conclusion, my journey with CIEE in Barcelona has been a whirlwind of academic growth, cultural immersion, and personal discovery. As I prepare to graduate, I can confidently say that studying abroad with CIEE has been the defining chapter of my college experience – an adventure that has enriched my perspective and left me with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.